Not only is a Pre-Trip Inspection required by the DOT, by law, to thoroughly inspect your entire truck before the start of every shift, it has the added benefit of saving lives.

Every day you are driving for at least 11 hours, at an average of 55 miles per hour, on roads of all different kinds of conditions. That is a lot of wear and tear on any kind of vehicle. And if you are not thoroughly inspecting your truck every single day, you run the risk of missing something that could cause a major accident and hurt other motorists.

So we sat down with ShipEX’s own Director of Compliance to discuss some of the most commonly missed or improperly inspected parts of a truck.

“The number one thing Drivers miss when performing a PTI is actually performing it in the first place.” It may seem obvious, but it is important to remember that performing a Pre-Trip Inspection is required by the DOT and not completing one can net you some serious violations. This is due to §393.1 of the Electronic Code of Federal Regulations, part 393 – Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation.

The next biggest mistake Drivers make is improperly inspecting all their tires. “When I used to drive, I couldn’t tell you how many times I saw other Drivers walk around their truck and either kick each tire or slap it with a rubber mallet.”

These methods of checking tires is prone to faulty and inaccurate results. Our Director of Compliance explains why, “If your tire is still attached to your truck and you kick it, it will feel full of air, but it has the chance to be filled with the wrong amount of air. The only way to properly check your tire pressure is to use a tire pressure gauge, without one, you are just guessing and that can get you a DOT citation per §393.75.

A couple of smaller things that Drivers miss that can lead to receiving a DOT citation are missing mud flaps and malfunctioning lights/reflectors. “Because you can still drive a truck just fine without mud flaps or missing a few lights along the trailer, a lot of Drivers simply miss these during a Pre-Trip Inspection.”

The DOT demands that any light that is on the outside of the truck and trailer must be working according to §393.22 – §393.26

Something that is really easy to miss or misinterpret is what the DOT requires when it comes to hoses and airlines. As our Director of Compliance puts it, “Most of the time, Drivers look to make sure the hoses are connected properly and that’s all. They need to make sure the hoses aren’t rubbing against each other and chaffing.”

What many Drivers fail to catch is the discoloration of hoses that chafe against each other, which can also earn a DOT violation per §393.45.

These are a few of the most common violations that occur in the world of trucking. It is absolutely vital to inspect every bit of your truck every single day, not only for the safety of other motorists, but also so you can stay on the road and continue to make money.

As our Director of Compliance puts it best, “Simply taking the time to properly and thoroughly inspect your entire truck and trailer can prevent you from being pulled over by a DOT officer. And to any Driver on the road, time is money, and more time spent on the road driving, and less time being written up for a violation is more money in your wallet.”